The College of Cardinals met in consistory on Feb. 12-13 to review the progress made so far and to discuss future reforms. The cardinals heard from the nine-member Council of Cardinals, which has been spearheading the reforms for Pope Francis.
The greatest progress has been made in reforming the finances of the Vatican, which has mainly focused on where the money is — the Vatican bank, the Vatican City State, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples. A new Secretariat for the Economy was also created to supervise Vatican finances.
Reforming Vatican finances is a priority for Pope Francis, who listened to the complaints about financial scandals from the cardinals at the time of his election.
In theory, this is the easiest part of Vatican reform. Financial reform is neither rocket science nor theology; it is simply good management practices developed by businesses, governments, and nonprofits to provide transparency and accountability. It requires clear procedures, training of employees, and proper supervision.
Applying all of this to the Vatican is a challenge, but everyone knows what is required. There may be resistance, but strong, steady leadership can prevail. This does not mean that scandals will end. In the short run, there should be more scandals as the bad actors are caught by the new system.
Reforming the Roman Curia, the part of the Vatican that helps the pope in his Petrine ministry, is more difficult. [More]